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Itagaki chalks up Japanese game dev woes to lack of action, "social skills"

If there are two things former Team Ninja head Tomonobu Itagaki knows, they're action and talking. And hey, it just so happens that he thinks most Japanese developers are miserable at both.

"In Japan, in this industry, they are lacking not just in technology, but the important thing is the creativity and ingenuity," he said in an interview with Gamasutra. "They're lacking in that. So they complain a lot, they say a lot, but then they don't take action. So before they say anything bad or complain—'Do something!' is what I want to say."

The big-talking, heavy hitting developer was similarly critical of his compatriots' gift of gab - or lack thereof - in this increasingly global industry.

"It's important to have the skill to express what you're doing, what you want to do - you know, express yourself," he explained. "I'm talking about social skills. I'm sure you're interviewing a lot of people, and maybe you meet people at parties, Japanese developers. Japanese developers, they don't have the necessary social skills. The American social skills, European social skills."

"You know, maybe they don't have humor; they don't know how to joke around. Maybe it's a problem with their manner. So if those people don't have those necessary social skills, and if those people are the ones who are developing the game, no matter how much they try to make globally accepted, globally popular games, that work in different cultures, that might be very difficult."

If you've got a couple minutes, we definitely recommend you check out the full interview. As per usual, Itagaki performs the verbal equivalent of doing 47 flips and putting "Evil Ninjas" on the endangered species list. Plus, how can you not love lines like this: "Not everyone has to be living on the edge like I am." Never change, Itagaki. Never change.

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Nathan Grayson


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